Resolute Support Mission

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Resolute Support Mission
Resolute Support.svg
Official logo of RSM
Active28 December 2014–12 July 2021[1]
CountryContributing states: See Below
Allegiance NATO
Size17,178 in October 2019 (Peak size) [2]
Part ofAllied Joint Force Command Brunssum American contingent responsible to:
United States Central Command
MacDill AFB, Florida, U.S.
HeadquartersKabul, Afghanistan
Motto(s)تعلیمات، کمک، مشورت (training, assistance, advice)
EngagementsWar in Afghanistan
Commanders
CommanderKenneth F. McKenzie Jr.
Notable
commanders
Austin S. Miller
John W. Nicholson Jr.
John F. Campbell (general)
Insignia
FlagFlag of the Resolute Support Mission.svg
Change of Mission Ceremony from ISAF to Resolute Support, 28 December 2014, Kabul

Resolute Support Mission (RSM) or Operation Resolute Support was a NATO-led multinational mission in Afghanistan.[3][4] It began on 1 January 2015 as the successor to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was completed on 28 December 2014.[5][6] Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2189 of 2014,[7] RSM was a noncombat mission aimed at advising and training Afghan security forces to provide long-term security to the country, under the aegis of the Security and Defence Cooperation Agreement BSA between the United States and Afghanistan,[7][8] which was originally supposed to run from 1 January 2015 and "shall remain in force until the end of 2024 and beyond" unless terminated with two years' advance notice.[9][10]

In October 2019, RSM had its largest size of troops, which was 17,178.[11][12] Moreover, the RSM had 42 contributing nations in 2015, making it its peak.[12] The US accounted for the largest contingent, while Italy, Germany, and Turkey served leading roles.[13] Intended to play a temporary and transitionary role, the mission gradually withdrew its forces, which numbered around 10,000 at the start of 2021. On 14 April 2021 via a North Atlantic Council Ministerial Statement, NATO announced a drawdown of RSM troops by 1 May,[14] and the mission was formally disbanded on 12 July 2021.[15] Some remaining forces continued to have a military presence in the country until they all were withdrawn in disarray by 31 August 2021.

Legal basis[edit]

The operation plan for the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) was approved by foreign ministers of the NATO members in late June 2014 and the corresponding status of forces agreement was signed by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Maurits Jochems in Kabul on 30 September 2014.[5] The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 2189 in support of the new international mission in Afghanistan.[6]

Objectives and deployment[edit]

The objective of the mission was to provide training, advice and assistance for Afghan security forces and institutions in their conflict with extremist groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and ISIS-K.[16][17][18]

The Resolute Support Mission consisted of approximately 17,000 personnel from NATO and partner nations in Afghanistan. The leader of the operation was at all times identical with the commander of United States Forces - Afghanistan.

Forces were distributed between the central hub at Kabul and Bagram Airfield and four supporting spokes.[5] The spokes were formed by Train Advise Assist Commands (TAACs), which directly supported four of the six Afghan National Army Corps. Train Advise Assist Command - Capital replaced the former Regional Command Capital. TAAC East assisted the 201st Corps from FOB Gamberi in Laghman, TAAC South assists the 205th Corps from Kandahar International Airport, TAAC West assisted the 207th Corps in Herat and TAAC North covered the 209th Corps from Mazar-i-Sharif.[19]

The 203rd Corps located in the south-eastern part of the country saw advisers from time to time from TAAC East (one source described this as "fly to advise").[20] The 215th Corps in the south-west is supported by TAAC South.

U.S. President Barack Obama, in an update given from the White House on 6 July 2016, stated that, following General John W. Nicholson's, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford's, and U.S. Defense Department Secretary Ashton Carter's mutual recommendations, the U.S. would have about 8,400 troops remaining in Afghanistan through the end of his administration in December 2016.[16]

The residual force of 9,800 troops was withdrawn on 31 December 2016, leaving 8,400 troops stationed at four garrisons (Kabul, Kandahar, Bagram, and Jalalabad).

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was appointed by the US Congress to oversee the $117.26 billion that Congress had provided to implement reconstruction programs in Afghanistan. The SIGAR's "April 30, 2018 Quarterly Report to Congress" says, "[As of January 31, 2018,] 14.5% of the country’s total districts [were] under insurgent control or influence [& an additional 29.2% were] contested[.]"[21]

Collapse and dissection[edit]

Intended to play a temporary and transitionary role, the mission gradually withdrew its forces, which numbered around 10,000 at the start of 2021. On 14 April 2021 via a North Atlantic Council Ministerial Statement, NATO announced a drawdown of RSM troops by 1 May,[14] and the mission was formally disbanded on 12 July 2021.[15]

The US Forces Afghanistan Forward was the name given by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and it continued to have a military presence in the country until all US forces were withdrawn in disarray by 31 August 2021.

In November 2021 NATO published a factsheet on its ‘Afghanistan Lessons Learned Process’. Seven meetings of a committee of NATO civil servants were held and the result was termed a "comprehensive review". John Manza, the committee's chair and the contemporary Assistant Secretary General for Operations, presented a summary that was reviewed and discussed by the NAC Permanent Representatives and the NAC Foreign Ministers. NATO HQ felt it "should consider mechanisms to improve the timeliness and relevance of reporting from the field and for more interactive discussions in the Council."[22][23]

SIGAR reported to Congress with the title "Collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: An Assessment of the Factors That Led to Its Demise" in May 2022.[24][25]

General David Petraeus, who had commanded for a time around 2010 the precursor ISAF mission to Afghanistan, described the end of the mission as "heart-breaking, tragic and disastrous" as he said "Afghanistan's gone back to the dark ages" in an interview on the release of the UK Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee report on the matter.[26][27] The report said the fact that the then-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, his Permanent Secretary Philip Barton and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were all on summertime leave when the Taliban took Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, "marks a fundamental lack of seriousness, grip or leadership at a time of [British] national emergency", especially in light of the vacuum left by the flight of President Ashraf Ghani, his cabinet and vaporous government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.[27]

As of June 2022 the Afghanistan War Commission had yet to report.[28]

Contributing nations[edit]

Crest used to identify personnel part of Resolute Support Mission
Map of Resolute Support Mission that documents the partition of responsibilities between allies: TAAC – Capital, TAAC – North, TAAC – South, TAAC – East, TAAC – West
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to soldiers at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, 9 April 2016
A Dutch soldier fires a Panzerfaust 3 in Afghanistan, 30 September 2020. Over 100 Netherlands Armed Forces personnel participated in the Resolute Support Mission.

As of 2019, among the forces contributing to the mission are 8,475 Americans training and helping Afghan forces, approximately 5,500 Americans engaged in counter-terrorism missions, 8,673 allied soldiers and 27,000 military contractors.[29]

A new type of U.S. unit, the Security Force Assistance Brigades, began deploying to Afghanistan in February 2018 to support the mission.[30]

The United Kingdom announced in July 2018 that it was going to send 440 more British personnel to Afghanistan. Around half of the additional personnel were deployed in August 2018 and the other half followed by February 2019. This increased the total number of British personnel in the country from 650 to 1,090 by early 2019.[31]

The countries that had personnel in Afghanistan as of February 2021 (with complete statistics last published prior to withdrawal) are as follows. The mission was terminated on 12 July 2021, and several countries had personnel in place, before all were withdrawn before 31 August 2021.[3]

Country Number of personnel
(September 2021)
Number of personnel
(February 2021)
Date withdrawn
 Albania 99 21 June 2021[32]
 Armenia 121 4 March 2021[33]
 Australia 80 1 July 2021[34]
 Austria 16 18 June 2021[35]
 Azerbaijan 120[36] 26 August 2021[37]
 Belgium 72 14 June 2021[38][39]
 Bosnia-Herzegovina 66 23 June 2021[40]
 Bulgaria 117 24 June 2021[41]
 Croatia 107 (in February 2020)[42] 13 September 2020[43]
 Czech Republic 52 27 June 2021[44]
 Denmark 135 22 June 2021[39]
 Estonia 45 23 June 2021[45]
 Finland 20 8 June 2021[46]
 France 266 28 August 2021[47]
 Georgia 860 28 June 2021[44]
 Germany 1,300 29 June 2021[48]
 Greece 11 4 July 2021
 Hungary 8 8 June 2021[49]
 Iceland 3 (in June 2019)[50] Specific date unknown,

but withdrawn by October 2019

 Ireland 7 (in March 2016) 6 March 2016[51]
 Italy 895 29 June 2021[52]
 Latvia 2 3 July 2021[53][54]
 Lithuania 40 Late June 2021[55][56]
 Luxembourg 2 19 May 2021[57]
 Mongolia 233 07 June 2021[58][59]
 Montenegro 32 2021
 Netherlands 160 24 June 2021[39]
 New Zealand 6 29 March 2021[60]
 North Macedonia 17 29 June 2021[61]
 Norway 101 26 June 2021[39]
 Poland 290 30 June 2021[62]
 Portugal 174 23 May 2021[63]
 Romania 619 26 June 2021[39]
 Slovakia 25 16 June 2021[64]
 Slovenia 6 20 May 2021[65]
 Spain 24 13 May 2021[66]
 Sweden 16 25 May 2021[66]
 Turkey 600 27 August 2021[67]
 Ukraine 10 5 June 2021[68]
 United Kingdom 750 28 August 2021[69]
 United States 3,500[70] 30 August 2021[71]
Total 0 10,624

List of commanders[edit]

The USFOR-A Commander reports to the Commander, United States Central Command (CENTCOM), who reports directly to the Secretary of Defense. This reporting relationship is prescribed in 10 USC Section 164(d)(1). The Resolute Support Mission Commander (COMRS) does not have a direct reporting relationship with the Secretary of Defense. Rather, he reports through the Commander, U.S. CENTCOM. COMRS reports to the NATO chain of command through the Commander of Joint Forces Command – Brunssum, who reports to the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).[72]

No. Commander Term
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
1
John F. Campbell
General
John F. Campbell
(born 1957)
December 28, 2014March 2, 20161 year, 65 days
2
John W. Nicholson Jr.
General
John W. Nicholson Jr.
(born 1957)
March 2, 2016September 2, 20182 years, 184 days
3
Austin S. Miller
General
Austin S. Miller
(born 1957)
September 2, 2018July 12, 20212 years, 313 days
4
Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.
General
Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.
(born 1956 or 1957)
July 12, 2021August 31, 202150 days

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Last Commander". Politico.
  2. ^ "RSM-Placemat" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b "Resolute Support Mission: Key Facts and Figures" (PDF). NATO. February 2021.
  4. ^ "NATO chief, Afghan president welcome "new phase" as combat role ends". DPA. DPA. 2 December 2014. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan". NATO. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Afghanistan: Security Council backs agreement on new non-combat NATO mission". United Nations News Centre. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b "S/RES/2189(2014) - e - S/RES/2189(2014) -Desktop".
  8. ^ "Statement by the President on the Signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO Status of Forces Agreement in Afghanistan". The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. 30 September 2014.
  9. ^ Thom Shanker and Rod Nordland (20 November 2013). "Pact May Extend U.S. Troops' Stay in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Senators Suggest Termination of US-Afghan Pact". Ariana News. 8 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Resolute Support Mission (RSM): Key Facts and Figures for October 2019" (PDF).
  12. ^ a b NATO. "Archive ISAF Placemats". NATO. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  13. ^ NATO. "Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan". NATO. Retrieved 2022-01-08.
  14. ^ a b "NATO RESOLUTE SUPPORT Mission Is Ending". April 14, 2021.
  15. ^ a b "The Last Commander". Politico. 16 July 2021.
  16. ^ a b "An Update On Our Mission in Afghanistan". whitehouse.gov. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016 – via National Archives.
  17. ^ Rosenberg, Matthew (October 15, 2015). "In Reversal, Obama Says U.S. Soldiers Will Stay in Afghanistan to 2017". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  18. ^ Velloso, Sophie (2020-06-07). "US launches airstrikes against Taliban in Afghanistan". International Insider. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  19. ^ Operation Resolute Support, TAAC North Archived 2015-01-01 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Resolute Support". Afghan War News. Afghan War News. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  21. ^ "April 30, 2018 Quarterly Report to Congress" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Afghanistan Lessons Learned Process" (PDF). NATO. November 2021.
  23. ^ Rynning, Sten; Hilde, Paal Sigurd; Cox, Michael (2022). "Operationally Agile but Strategically Lacking: NATO's Bruising Years in Afghanistan". LSE Public Policy Review. 2 (3). doi:10.31389/lseppr.55. S2CID 248622315.
  24. ^ Sopko, John F. (12 May 2022). (PDF). Office of the Special Inspector G. Office of Inspector General (United States) https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/evaluations/SIGAR-22-22-IP.pdf. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ "US withdrawal prompted collapse of Afghan army: Report". Al Jazeera Media Network. 18 May 2022.
  26. ^ Mee, Sarah-Jane (24 May 2022). "'Afghanistan's gone back to the dark ages,' says General Petraeus". Sky News. YouTube.
  27. ^ a b Nevett, Joshua (24 May 2022). "Afghanistan: UK's withdrawal a disaster, inquiry concludes". BBC.
  28. ^ "Research expert disagrees with recent SIGAR report on Afghanistan". Sinclair Broadcast Group. GOVERNMENT MATTERS. 5 June 2022.
  29. ^ "Operation Freedom's Sentinel: Lead Inspector General Report to the United States Congress, April 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019" (PDF). Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General. 20 August 2019. pp. 47–48. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  30. ^ "First troops among new front-line adviser brigade arrive in Afghanistan". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  31. ^ "Afghanistan: UK to send 440 more non-combat troops". BBC News. 10 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Kthehen në atdhe pas misionit në Kabul e Afganistan kontingjentet "Resolute Support Mission"". Ministry of Defence (in Albanian). 21 June 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  33. ^ "Armenian Peacekeepers Left Afghanistan in March". hetq.am.
  34. ^ "'It's really hard to say it was worth it': Final Australian troops leave Afghanistan, 20 years after mission began". www.abc.net.au. June 30, 2021.
  35. ^ "Letzter österreichischer Soldat verlässt Afghanistan". ORF (in German). 16 June 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  36. ^ 120 troops guarding in Kabul airport
  37. ^ "Azerbaijani peacekeepers are withdrawn from Afghanistan". Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  38. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Schmitt, Eric (June 29, 2021). "Security in Afghanistan Is Decaying, U.S. General Says as Forces Leave". The New York Times.
  39. ^ a b c d e "Last German, Italian troops leave Afghanistan after nearly 20 years". euronews. June 29, 2021.
  40. ^ "Bh. vojnici vratili se iz Afganistana, pogledajte emotivne susrete s porodicama". Klix.ba (in Bosnian). 23 June 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  41. ^ "The Bulgarian military return from Afghanistan". bnr.bg.
  42. ^ "Resolute Support Mission (RSM): Key Facts and Figures-Feb 2020" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  43. ^ "Last Croatian troops in NATO leave Afghanistan". The Frontier Post. 2020-09-13. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  44. ^ a b "Czech, Georgia complete troops withdrawal from Afghanistan". menafn.com.
  45. ^ "Ceremony marks end of Estonia's 18 year Afghanistan presence". www.news.err.ee. 2 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  46. ^ "Viimeiset suomalaissotilaat palasivat Afganistanista kotimaahan". Maavoimat. 9 June 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  47. ^ Франция завершила эвакуацию людей из Афганистана // информагентство "Интерфакс" от 28 августа 2021
  48. ^ "Germany pulls last troops from Afghanistan, ending nearly 20-year mission | DW | 29.06.2021". DW.COM.
  49. ^ "Last Hungarian Afghanistan Mission Soldiers Arrive Back – with PHOTOS!". June 9, 2021.
  50. ^ "Resolute Support Mission (RSM): Key Facts and Figures-June 2019" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  51. ^ "Ireland declares 'End of Mission' at Camp Resolute Support, Kabul".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  52. ^ "L'Italia si è ritirata dall'Afghanistan Ammainato il tricolore a Herat, finisce dopo 20 anni la missione più difficile". Corriere della Sera. 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  53. ^ "Latvija izvedusi visus karavīrus no Afganistānas". delfi.lv. July 3, 2021.
  54. ^ "Latvia has withdrawn all troops from Afghanistan". July 4, 2021.
  55. ^ "Lithuania completes withdrawal from Afghanistan, troops to receive awards in Vilnius". lrt.lt. July 9, 2021.
  56. ^ "The last of Lithuanian soldiers returned home from Afghanistan, ending a 19-year involvement in the country". July 10, 2021.
  57. ^ "Two Luxembourgish soldiers return from Afghanistan". RTL Today. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  58. ^ "Дэслэгч генерал Д.Ганзориг: МАНАЙ ЦЭРГҮҮДИЙН ҮҮРЭГ ГҮЙЦЭТГЭЛТ ХОЁР УЛСЫН НАЙРАМДАЛТ ХАРИЛЦААГ УЛАМ БЭХЖҮҮЛЖ ЧАДЛАА". General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces - "At a time when the last military security team, which has been working with the US Armed Forces on NATO's "Decision-Making Support" in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, has recently returned home to Mongolia." (in Mongolian). 17 June 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  59. ^ The Mongolian soldiers at last returned to their home country the first week of June this year.
  60. ^ "New Zealand Defence Force withdraws remaining personnel from Afghanistan". Army Technology. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  61. ^ "European Troops Return Home From Afghanistan As U.S. 'Days Away' From Completing Pullout". RFE/RL.
  62. ^ "European troops quietly return from Afghanistan". Associated Press. June 30, 2021.
  63. ^ Portugal has completed withdrawal of its troops.
  64. ^ "SVK Armed Forces end their 20-year-long engagement in Afghanistan". Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic. 17 June 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  65. ^ "Slovenian soldiers already pulled out of Afghanistan". STAnews. 26 May 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  66. ^ a b "Most European troops exit Afghanistan quietly after 20 years". AP NEWS. 2021-06-30. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  67. ^ "Türk askerinin Afganistan'dan tahliyesi tamamlandı". Habertürk. 27 August 2021. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  68. ^ "Ukraine withdraws its troops from Afghanistan". Kyiv Post. 9 June 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  69. ^ "Final British troops leave Afghanistan to end 20-year campaign". TheGuardian.com. 28 August 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  70. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Cooper, Helene; Schmitt, Eric (March 14, 2021). "U.S. Has 1,000 More Troops in Afghanistan Than It Disclosed". The New York Times.
  71. ^ "Final US planes leave Kabul airport after two decades of war in Afghanistan". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  72. ^ "Advance Policy Questions for Lieutenant General Austin Miller, U.S. Army Nominee for Commander, Resolute Support Mission and Commander, United States Forces-Afghanistan" (PDF). Senate Armed Services Committee. 19 June 2018.

External links[edit]